The semifinal round of Georgia High School Association football playoffs is upon us and AccessWDUN has three teams from its coverage area still playing for championships.
We will look at the Class 4A bracket, which houses Jefferson. The Dragons (13-0) are into the Final 4 for the first time since 2016 and are looking for their first finals appearance since winning the Class 2A state title in 2012. They will face a huge road test on Friday night traveling to perennial power Benedictine (9-2) which is also into the semifinals for the first time since 2016. The Cadets won the Class 2A state title in 2014 and 2016.
Marist travels to Bainbridge in the other Class 4A semifinal.
All four of the semifinalists have won state titles in their past.
For the weekend's schedule involving area teams, simply scroll down. And be sure to check back with AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night throughout the night for score updates and game stories and video highlights. You can also check for scores and highlights on our Twitter feed: @FridayGameNight
CLASS 4A NOTEBOOK
After the first two rounds, this classification was the toughest to get a road win in nine years. That did not change in the quarterfinals. Three of the four semifinalists got home wins as the home team in Class 4A has now gone 26-2 (93 percent) in the playoffs, by far the best in any classification in 2020. ... Class 4A and Class 2A are the only two of the eight classes to have for region champs advance to the Final 4. ... Bainbridge is the semifinals for the 3rd time in 6 years and first since winning the Class 5A state title in 2018. Marist is in the semis for the 3rd time in 4 years. ... Jefferson advanced to its first semifinals since 2016 as did Benedictine. All four have won state titles in their past. ... The four teams all are in the top 6 in offense but only Marist (1st) and Jefferson (3rd) are in the top 10 in defense. ... Jefferson still owns the top offense averaging 44.4 ppg, Benedictine is 2nd (39.2 ppg), Marist 5th (36.9 ppg), and Bainbridge 6th (30.7 ppg). ... The best unit vs. unit matchup may be between the Benedictine offense and the Jefferson defense, which is yielding just 9.0 ppg and just 7.1 ppg in the playoffs. The biggest potential mismatch could be the Jefferson offense vs. the Benedictine defense, which is 40th in 4A allowing 25.3 ppg. ... Jefferson has never played any of the other three remaining semifinalists.
JEFFERSON at BENEDICTINE
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Savannah Memorial Stadium, Savannah
-- RADIO: WDUN 102.9 FM
-- JEFFERSON (13-0): No. 1 seed from Region 8; defeated Carver-Columbus 28-22 in the quarterfinals
-- BENEDICTINE (9-2): No. 1 seed from Region 3; defeated Riverdale 48-13 in the quarterfinals
-- NOTABLE: First-ever meeting between the two programs. ... After last week’s win, this Jefferson squad now holds the second-longest win streak in program history (13). Only the 2012-13 team (16) has a longer streak. ... The Dragons have shown they can face the unknown in 2020. Benedictine will be the 7th team they have faced in 2020 for the first time ever. They are 6-0, including 3-0 in the playoffs, vs. first-time opponents in 2020. ... The two teams have combined for three Class 2A titles since 2012, with the Dragons taking the title in 2012 and the Cadets capturing the 2014 and 2016 crowns. Neither has won a title above Class 2A. ... Last week was one of the few times in 2020 that the Jefferson regulars played an entire four quarters. They showed their mettle as QB Malaki Starks (1,136 yards rushing, 20 TD) engineered a long 4th quarter TD drive, and a TD run, that eventually sealed the game. The defense gave up a late score but they recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock vs. Carver. ... Sr. Kam Robinson could be a huge key for the Dragons. He is averaging 27.2 yards on 16 punt returns with 4 returned for TDs in 2020. He is fearless with only 2 fair catches all season. ... Only the 2012 Dragons team scored more points in the first three rounds (130) compared to the 2020 squad (128). ... The Cadets offer a unique challenge in that their offense employs elements of both the wing-T and spread attacks. They are averaging 241 yards/game through the air and 187 yards/game on the ground. ... RB LeShon Brooks has just under 1,000 yards on the season. WR Trent Broadnax is much like the Dragons’ Kam Robinson in that he is a threat from multiple positions. Broadnax has over 1,000 receiving and scored on a punt return last week. Jr. QB Holden Geriner is as efficient as anyone in the state (147-for-213, 69%, 2,310 yards, 22 TD, 1 INT). ... The turnover battle will be huge. The Cadets have just 4 turnovers all season and are a plus-8 in turnover ratio. The Dragons have 11 turnovers on the season but also have forced 19 on defense for a plus-8 ratio as well.
STATE PLAYOFFS SEMIFINAL ROUND SCHEDULE FOR Dec. 18
(Games at higher seeded team)
Valdosta (Region 1, Seed 2) at Buford (Region 8, Seed 1) -- WDUN AM 550
Jefferson (R8, S1) at Benedictine (R3, S1) -- FM 102.9 WDUN
Rabun County (R8, S1) at Callaway (R5, S1)